An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King explores a timely, absorbing speculative premise: if the continued effects of China’s One Child Policy and preference for male children continues along its current path, what cultural reactions will occur because of the millions of “excess” unmarriageable male citizens? The writing itself is a little unwieldy and uneven. Shen simultaneously develops the rise of a governmental conspiracy on a large level alongside the more intimate drama of a family trying to make their lives work within an oppressive polygamous social structure. Ultimately, neither one reaches a fully realized state… overly easy tie-ups are definitely at play in the plot. The ideas within the novel, though, were forceful enough to give me pause, wondering how closely King’s vision will match up with the future.